In Season: Citrus Beet Salad With Tarragon and Hazelnuts

Sometime last November, I discovered the beautiful food blog, Foolproof Living—its author, Aysegul Sanford, and I struck up a conversation and over the course of a few emails she agreed to contribute to a new take on our food series where we test seasonal recipes from some of our favorite cookbooks.

For this first installment, Aysegul chose the aptly named Cook Beautiful (it’s gorgeous!). Athena Calderone, who is also behind the blog Eye-Swoon, partnered with Johnny Miller on the photography, and in Aysegul’s opinion, he’s one of the best food photographers out there right now. We chose one recipe to feature, and Aysegul tested it out and took these pictures at her home in Vermont.

Recipes in Cook Beautiful follow the seasons, beginning with spring and ending with winter, and feature a mix of vegetable and meat-focused dishes and desserts. At the beginning of each chapter, the produce of that season is listed to give the reader an idea as to what to play around with in their own kitchen. Aysegul has cooked through most of the winter recipes so far, and had this to say about the book:

“Every recipe I tried was packed with a ton of flavor. Though there are a few recipes made with ‘hard to find ingredients,’ most of them are made with ingredients found in well stocked pantries. She did a very good job finding ingredients that would go well together. For example, I would have never thought to combine tarragon, citrus, and roasted hazelnut in one dish, but they work so surprisingly well together.”

She also noted that special attention was clearly given to the images, which are spectacular. “The color theme matches with the seasons and the ingredients used. Spring and summer is mostly light, happy, and bright colors and mood, whereas autumn and winter are more in grey tones with a winter festive and moody feel. However, as you scroll through the pages it works beautifully without overwhelming the eye.”

Cook Beautiful is definitely a book worth picking up and poring over.

Here’s one particularly stunning recipe from the book to try, featuring this season’s winter citrus… 

Citrus Beet Salad With Tarragon and Hazelnuts

Recipe from Cook Beautiful/Testing and photography by Aysegul Sanford for Hither & Thither.


For The Dressing:
¼ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of black pepper

For The Roasted Beets:
4 medium-size (or 8 small) red beets or Chioggia beets
4 medium-size yellow beets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

To Assemble:
¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
3 medium oranges*, peeled and sliced
5 sprigs of fresh tarragon
¼ cup lightly roasted whole hazelnuts

*Feel free to mix and match: I used Cara Cara, Navel and blood oranges.

To make the dressing:

Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, minced shallot, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

To roast the beets:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 F degrees.

Place red beets (or Chioogia beets) in the middle of a piece of large foil.* Drizzle with the half of the olive, salt and pepper. Tightly seal the foil pack. Repeat the same steps for the yellow beets. Place the foil packs on a sheet pan and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets. Unwrap the beets and let them cool for a few minutes. Peel, cut into wedges, and place in a bowl. Lightly drizzle them with half of the dressing and set aside.

*If your beets are large, feel free to make multiple foil packs.

Note: While you can roast beets altogether, for a beautiful presentation I recommend roasting them separately so that their colors will not bleed into one another.

To Assemble the salad:

Spread the bottom of a flat plate with the Greek yogurt. Arrange orange slices and beets on top. Drizzle it with the rest of the dressing (along with the dressing that you used for the beets). Sprinkle with toasted and chopped hazelnuts. Garnish with tarragon.

Serve immediately.

Note: If you are planning to serve this for a dinner party, I recommend assembling it right before serving for the best presentation. Alternatively, you can assemble the salad in individual portions. If you decide to do so, this recipe will be ideal for 4 medium or 6 small (appetizer) servings.


This is an incredibly flavorful citrus salad. The combination of citrus, fresh tarragon, and hazelnuts is surprisingly delicious!

What are your favorite books to cook from? Any you’d like to see tested here? 

Originally from Turkey, Aysegul was born with an itchy feet. Immediately after graduating college in her native country, she moved to the US to pursue a career in hospitality. After working for hotels in various roles for over 10 years, she married another hotelier and life (aka her new husband’s job) took them to a small island in the British Virgin Islands. Island life was great, but the lack of opportunities (and work visas) for the wife of an expat allowed her to pursue her true passions—cooking and photography. Foolproof Living began as a hobby, sharing recipes and quirks of island life with mostly friends and family, but gained attention from readers all around the world. Today, Foolproof Living continues to be a resource where readers can find easy to follow, healthy and seasonal recipes made without the use of refined sugars. In 2015, Aysegul and her husband moved back to the US and they currently reside in a small town in Southern Vermont.

P.S. More In Season Recipes, including a spring Fava Bean Tartine with Mint Pesto

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